The Scribe and The Hippie fought as they got in the car. They bickered all the way home from school. My two girls pulled each other's hair so much I worried it would cause male-pattern-baldness even though they're girls and my dad isn't bald! They cried and whined like pitiful cats and I'd finally had enough.
That's when my voice cut through the chaos. "I've had it! You," I pointed to The Hippie, "you have to do whatever I say for the rest of your life. But for the rest of today, I want you to act blind."
"Don't question me. I'm sick of hearing you two fight. Just do it."
"Shouldn't she be mute then, I mean if you're sick of hearing us?"
I glared at The Scribe. "I'm the mother here! You two do what I say. Why are you still looking at me?" I'd turned to The Hippie and saw her quizzical expression. "Close your eyes."
"Well, don't I at least get a dog to go with this . . . or something?"
"No." I groaned.
The truth was, I wanted them to stop fighting, appreciate what they have and not bug each other ANYMORE--new impairments seemed the only solution.
The Scribe snickered, thinking she'd gotten off free.
"And you," I growled, pointing to The Scribe, "you're deaf." Then, since she'd been behaving the worst, I added, "And you've lost the use of your left leg."
"What?" she asked.
"For the rest of the day, you're deaf and you can't use your left leg. That's your punishment."
"I just said, you're deaf and you . . ." I glared at her. "Are you saying 'what' because you're deaf?"
She nodded and a giggle left her throat.
So, for about two minutes everything seemed perfect. The fighting stopped. The Scribe couldn't hear The Hippie; The Hippie couldn't see The Scribe.
It was a wonderful moment, like discovering the moon's really made of cheese or that Johnny Depp is in town.
The four kids and I sat down for dinner after that. I pointed to my mouth and explained to The Scribe about lipreading. "Time . . . for . . . dinner," I talked slowly.
"Yes . . . it's time," The Hippie mouthed, with her eyes clenched shut.
The Scribe turned to the blind Hippie and said, "Just 'cause I'm deaf, it doesn't mean I don't have a brain."
"And just 'cause I'm blind, it doesn't mean I can't smell your stinky feet."
I put my face in my hands. "Just eat your food, please."
"What?" the deaf Scribe asked and I glared again, perfecting the ancient art of wanna-kick-yo-booty.
The Hippie struggled to eat anything. Every time she stabbed at her food, she came back with nothing. "No wonder blind people are so skinny; YOU'D THINK you were blind, mom."
"That wasn't very nice, Hippie," The Scribe said. "Mom isn't that skinny."
"Aren't you supposed to be deaf? You keep forgetting. You have two disappointments. You're deaf and you can't use a leg."
"I can still lipread!"
"I doubt it," The Hippie said, then she laughed hysterically. "I can almost imagine how mad you look right now."
"That's rude!" The deaf Scribe stabbed her food so hard, some of it flew from her plate. "I've never been this mad at a blind person!"
"Well, I never knew deaf people could be so mean . . ."
"And to think, I was trying to be nice because you're different," The Scribe said.
"Don't act like that! Just cause you have two disappointments, that doesn't make you better than me!"
We were all quiet after that. The Zombie Elf just stared at his sisters. Doctor Jones ate her food and I wanted to slide deep into my sewing room, where no one would fight and I could have a moment of peace.
The Hippie finally broke the silence. She tapped The Scribe on the arm and mouthed, "You wanna watch TV?"
They went downstairs, one feeling the wall and the other limping. I heard the TV click on after a moment, then The Scribe groaned, "Well, this is lame," and there was no pun intended. "I can't hear the TV and you can't see it."
"Being blind is terrible."
"You're right, but things are still harder for me. Like you said, I have two dissappointments."
"They're called dis-abil-ities!" I yelled down the stairs.
"Yeah, well whatever they are, I don't like them. I've only been deaf half a day, but I already feel like you're treating me bad because of it."
I did the dishes as the girls helped each other up the stairs. It was slow, but I noticed a change in how they were acting. The Scribe told the blind Hippie where to walk; she draped her arm over her younger sister and limped along, trusting in the blind girl.
They started laughing and joking after that. At one point, The Hippie picked up her older sister.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"She can't walk, so I'm helping and she's telling me where to go."
The Scribe looked awfully heavy in her little sister's arms. "Are you sure you're okay . . . wait, wait," I screamed because The Hippie almost walked into the wall and then down the stairs, where Doctor Jones was crawling backwards.
I did avert the danger though. I brought them into the other room, made some goofy noises and danced around. "Poof! Your sight, hearing . . . and leg are restored. How do you feel?"
"But we were having so much fun."
"And now it's time to go to sleep." I smiled at them. "Girls I'm proud of you. You stopped fighting and you did great."
"I know," The Scribe said. "It's like we were in one of those old movies you always make us watch. See . . . we were paying attention."
I felt like giving them a moral, an incredibly cheesy morel. "With the right attitude and God by your side, you can make it through anything."
"Yeah," The Hippie said, " 'cause being blind rocks! I love disappointments!"
So, maybe she missed the point. Maybe neither of my oldest daughters understood the greater meaning I wanted them to get, but at least they stopped fighting for two seconds--that has to count for something--right? Please tell me it does . . .
If you want to read another story about hilarious disciplining methods, please visit Melynda at Crazy World.